MS Dhoni should not bat below number five

back icon
25 Sep 2020 | 08:36 AM
Deep Dasgupta

MS Dhoni should not bat below number five

In an exclusive column for, former Indian cricketer Deep Dasgupta looks back at the first few days of IPL 2020



There is one thing about Mahendra Singh Dhoni. He does not need to wield the willow to be in the news. Just like the other day. It was not about his batting that grabbed the headlines, but it was his "not batting" that got the goat of many Chennai Super Kings (CSK) fans. 

Here is my take on the issue as I see it. When you are chasing 217, someone with Dhoni's experience and power-hitting ability cannot come at number seven. I am all for experimenting with Sam Curran as a pinch-hitter, but Dhoni in this CSK line-up – without Raina – should not bat below number five on most days.

Dhoni mentioned about the 14-day extended quarantine that hampered their batting time. He has a point considering he has not played cricket for more than a year. The three sixes in the match against Rajasthan Royals indicates that he can still clear the distance. However, Dhoni of 2020 needs more deliveries to tee off, as he will have a bit of trouble against express pace – be it Kagiso Rabada, Jofra Archer or Lockie Ferguson as we have seen in the recent past.

The CSK template of preserving wickets in the first 10 overs and unleashing brute force in the last 10 is still working, but that batting order will need some reshuffling until Ambati Rayudu is back from his hamstring injury. CSK should also be given credit for making sure that their net run-rate didn’t take a big hit. I know for some it might be too early or too negative, but in a 14-game tournament, every game is important and in almost every season, net run-rate has come into the picture for qualification.

The class of Rohit

If CSK depend on going for the jugular in the last 10 overs, Mumbai Indians believe in catching the opposition by the scruff of their neck in the first 10. At times, I laugh at those internet trolls who go after Rohit Sharma and time and again eat humble pie. In white-ball cricket, make fun of him at your own peril because he can repeatedly punch on your gut like he did on that big Abu Dhabi ground on Wednesday.

We need to understand and appreciate that most of the players are playing after a very long time and would need a few games to get match fit. As the tournament progresses, Rohit will be a nightmare for all teams.

KKR stumble

Talking about nightmares, Kolkata Knight Riders endured one when everything that could go wrong went wrong in their first match. I can understand that one tends to stick to left-right combination, but while chasing a 190-plus target, you can’t have Andre Russell coming in at number six when he has made it clear that his preferred batting slot is somewhere between numbers three and four.

As far as Pat Cummins is concerned, I would not be too bothered as he has just landed a few days back and did not have any training sessions. Also, in these sapping conditions, you cannot blame the bowler as he is trying to adjust from an England length to the Abu Dhabi length.

Samson and Padikkal shine

The highlight during the first week for me was the performance of two youngsters – Sanju Samson and Devdutt Padikkal.

An enormously talented cricketer, a gifted stroke player with an amazing range, Samson’s challenge has been his consistency. He has never had a run of five to six good matches in any competition – be it red ball, white ball, Ranji Trophy, Vijay Hazare Trophy or Indian Premier League (IPL). But he has some days when he is majestic and as good as anyone playing top-level white-ball cricket – Tuesday against CSK was one such day.

Samson has been a big-hitter all his life, but what has improved is his power as the ball was going a fair distance. Sharjah is a small ground but trust me, at least seven of his nine sixes would have stayed hit in Dubai and Abu Dhabi too. Samson is already there along with KL Rahul, who is now India’s first-choice white-ball keeper followed by Rishabh Pant.

Coming to Padikkal, let us get one thing straight. I am not setting a timeline, but he will certainly play for India and do it for a long time. At 20, he has a sound technique, good footwork and above everything else, quality temperament to last the distance. His fearless cricket stood out and, while he would like to improve his middle-over game, that will certainly happen with time. He is a blue-chip investment material as far as Indian cricket is concerned.

Umpires errors will be corrected

The first week of the IPL also witnessed some umpiring errors and the conversations that followed. Given the increasing use of technology in decision-making in sports, the governing bodies will certainly find a fix in the future for such errors.

A good start is only job half done. Wishing way more fours and sixes in the coming weeks and lesser controversies for sure.

shareGray Share
Indian Premier League, 2020Chennai Super KingsMumbai IndiansKolkata Knight RidersDeep Biplab DasguptaMahendra Singh DhoniRohit Gurunath SharmaAndre Dwayne RussellPatrick James CumminsSanju Viswanath SamsonDevdutt Babunu Padikkal

Related Articles

Chennai Super Kings vs Mumbai Indians, IPL 2020, Match 41: Fantasy Preview
Here are a few tips and suggestions that might help you in creating your fantasy team for the 41st match of IPL 2020 between CSK and MI at Sharjah Staff
22 Oct 2020
RR, CSK and KXIP – Can they turn the table around?
An analysis into what RR and CSK can improve on to qualify for the play-offs in IPL 2020 and whether KXIP stand a chance
userSomesh Agarwal
13 Oct 2020
Kolkata Knight Riders vs Chennai Super Kings, IPL 2020, Match 21: Fantasy Preview
Here are a few tips and suggestions that might help you in creating your fantasy team for the 20th match of IPL 2020 between Mumbai Indians and Rajasthan Royals at the Sheikh Zayed Stadium in Abu Dhabi staff
06 Oct 2020
Gloves are Off: KL Rahul way ahead of the pack
Deep Dasgupta explores the performance of the young Indian wicket-keepers in the IPL so far
userDeep Dasgupta
30 Sep 2020
IPL 2020: Top five talking points from the first week
From KL Rahul's stunning century to Devdutt Padikkal's super debut, we look back at some of the top performances
userHardik Worah
27 Sep 2020
It will take some time to Dhoni at his best: Fleming
Chennai Super Kings head coach said his spinners were slow in adjusting the length of their deliveries
23 Sep 2020
14-day quarantine didn't help, says Dhoni on lack of batting time
Dhoni came in to bat at No 7 sending the likes of Sam Curran and Kedar Jadhav ahead of him in a mammoth 217-run chase
22 Sep 2020
Rajasthan Royals vs Chennai Super Kings, IPL 2020, Match 4: Fantasy Preview
Here are a few tips and suggestions that might help you in creating your fantasy team for the fourth match of IPL 2020 between Rajasthan Royals and Chennai Super Kings at the Sharjah Cricket Stadium
userCricket.Com Staff
21 Sep 2020
IPL 2020: The complete news timeline
What's hot, what's not, who's in, who's out. Everything that you need to know about IPL 2020 - we have it covered here! staff
04 Sep 2020
Five games when CSK snatched victory from the jaws of defeat
We look back at five miraculous victories by CSK since they came back to IPL, on this day in 2018 Staff
07 Apr 2020
Cricket like never before
Follow us on
@ 2020 | All rights reserved